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Mar 14, 2017

Hudson's Bay reportedly eyes Neiman Marcus for possible takeover

Why this analyst believes a combined HBC-Neiman Marcus makes total sense

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Hudson’s Bay Co (HBC.TO) is reportedly eyeing a deal for luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus. The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday the Canadian retailer is in discussions for a deal that wouldn’t include Neiman Marcus’ US$5-billion debt load, which has grown over the course of its 12 years under private equity ownership. The Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board currently owns 50 per cent of the company, with private equity firm Ares Management as an equal partner.

In a regulatory document filed early Tuesday, Neiman Marcus disclosed it is exploring strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the company. Neiman Marcus scuttled plans for an initial public offering in January, as the retailer grapples with slowing sales. Same-store sales in its most recent quarter fell 6.8 per cent, and the company lost US$117.1 million in the second quarter, as a non-cash impairment charge hit the company.

The speculation comes mere weeks after HBC reportedly expressed interest in U.S. retailer Macy’s, a transaction that was reportedly beset by difficulties HBC would face in monetizing its real estate assets. Macy’s market cap, at just shy of US$9.4 billion, is more than five times the value of Hudson’s Bay, though the latter has forecast its real estate assets hold as much as $14.2 billion in value.

When contacted for comment, an HBC spokesperson told BNN the company does not comment on rumours or speculation.

"Generally speaking, as we have previously stated,  we selectively evaluate opportunities to accelerate the company’s strategic growth while maintaining or enhancing its credit profile.”